Wedding Wednesday Q&A: What To Look For in a Wedding Planner

Wedding Wednesdays Q&A by Jamie Chang Destination Wedding Planner of Mango Muse Events

Q: I need some serious help.  I hired a wedding planner and it’s not gone well.  She doesn’t respond to me and isn’t getting anything done.  I’m really frustrated and upset about it, so, I fired her.  It just wasn’t working for me.  But, now I need a new wedding planner because I’m stressed out and don’t want to do this on my own.  But, I’m nervous now because she was fine…until she wasn’t.  What should I be looking for in a wedding planner?  And how do I make sure this doesn’t happen again?

Yikes.  I’m so sorry to hear that you’re in this position.  I’ve worked with couples who have unfortunately been in the same situation and it’s not fun.  There are bad apples in every industry.  And I’m sorry you had to work with one.

And I understand your nervousness.  Given the experience you just had, it’s totally natural and expected to feel that way.  It’s hard to trust someone new.  But, I’m glad that you’re looking again because great wedding planners exist it’s just a matter of weeding through to find the right one.  You’re asking the right questions, so let’s get you the answers you need.

Outside of the basic information about the services they provide and the investment, here are 6 qualities you should look for in a wedding planner.

6 Qualities to Look for in a Wedding Planner

Mango Muse Events, destination wedding planner hugging happy bride at a Hawaii destination wedding

(Photo credit: Emily Piraino)

#1 – First off, you want someone who does this professionally and full-time.  You want a wedding planner whose sole job is planning weddings.  Because it means that they’re fully committed to what they do and, in turn, they’ll be fully committed to their clients.

#2 – You want a wedding planner that is dedicated to you.  You don’t want to be just another number.  Find out how many clients they have at one time and how many weddings they do a year.  The lower the number, the more time, effort, and creativity they can and will dedicate to your wedding.

#3 – In relation to #2, you want to find out exactly who you’d be working with.  Is it the same person you’re talking with?  Is it the owner of the company?  Or are you going to be working with an associate?  Associate planners aren’t bad, but you want to make sure you like the person you’re going to be working with.  And that you’ll be working with the same person the entire time from start to finish.

#4 – You want a planner with experience.  Experience matters in most professions and it definitely matters in this one.  Find out what their experience is not just with planning weddings, but planning weddings similar to yours.  If you have anything special or out of the ordinary planned, see if they feel comfortable working with that.

#5 – You want a wedding planner who will give you time.  You want to feel taken care of.  So, make sure your wedding planner doesn’t have a cap on how much time they talk to you.  Or how much time they’ll meet with you.  That will just make you more nervous.  Instead, find a planner who will dedicate as much time to you as necessary.

#6 – You want a planner that cares.  This is important and matters more for your wedding planner than any other wedding vendor you hire.  Your wedding planner needs to care about you.  Because if they care, they’ll work hard to make sure you’re happy.  Pay attention to how they talk about their clients, what is important to them, their philosophy and why they work the way they do.  This will tell you a lot about who they are and how they treat their clients.

Those 6 qualities will help you to find a wedding planner that will actually be helpful.  Now, to answer your second question.

Unfortunately, there is no absolute way to promise you that this same situation won’t happen again.  But, the biggest recommendation I can give you is to go into this differently than you did the first time.

Here are some examples of what I mean by that.  Start by asking questions you didn’t ask the first time.  Get references if you didn’t the first time.  Create agreed upon expectations so you’re on the same page.  Be upfront and express your concerns and worries and then find out what their solutions are.  Come up with a plan together to get the help you need.  And make sure you feel really good about them and what they propose before you sign anything.

You want this time to be different, right?  So, make sure you approach it differently.  Look for things you didn’t the first time.  You want to feel good about your decision, so make sure you do.

And then once you’ve made a decision you only want it to get better.  If you make the right decision I promise it will be.  It can be better than you ever imagined.

Newlywed couple at a Cornerstone Winery destination wedding in Sonoma, planned by destination wedding planner, Mango Muse Events

(Photo credit: Arrowood Photography)

If you’re just starting to look into wedding planners, please keep these 6 qualities in mind as well.  Choosing the right planner can make all the difference in how happy or not happy you are.

And if you’ve got a wedding planning question, please let me know in a comment below.  I want to make sure you get the help you need.

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